no. not that kind of diet (though i do plan on making some modifications to my regularly scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner).
a spending diet. as in, watching my spending like i watch my waistline.
i’ve been reading dave ramsey and perusing my checking account and the verdict is in: i’ve been spending too much (mostly little bits here and there, but all in all, too much).
if you knew what i was like ten years ago, heck, even five, you would know how far i’ve come. but since many of you didn’t know me then, you probably wouldn’t understand the enormity of the change in my financial outlook over the past decade.
generally speaking, i’m a thrifty gal. i never pay for shipping, i coupon and pay my credit card balance every month. i have an emergency fund and a 401k and utilize my health savings account (pre-tax dollars baby!). i shop when stuff is on sale and rarely pay full price for anything.
regardless of all of these things, i still am spending too much money. not living-beyond-my-means spending, or i’ll-be-broke-by-the-end-of-the-month spending, just. TOO. MUCH. and because money can be such a huge issue in marriage, and because i don’t want it to be an issue in mine, i’m going to re-examine the way i look at – and spend – money.
also, and this is a big thing, i’ve come to realize that some of my spending is bordering on transfer addiction.
Psychologists call this phenomenon “addiction transfer.” People who struggle with compulsive behaviors (such as compulsive overeating, alcoholism, smoking, compulsive gambling or shopping, promiscuity, workaholism, Internet or video game addiction and drug addiction), often find that they overcome one addiction only to develop another months or even years later.
(you can read more about it here.)
you see, i can’t eat like i used to, or devote my time to coach-potatohood (yep. i just made that up.) or smoke. sidebar: i smoked for 10 years and quit before being banded. after banding, my desire to smoke (even after having not smoked for a year) is greater than ever. it doesn’t even make sense to me.
post-banding, i am addicted to exercise (not a horrible thing) and as of late, spending money. shopping, hoarding random crap like wallflowers and candles because i’m afraid i’ll miss out on something and not be able to get it again. like serious messed-up, addictive (hoarder??) thinking.
so come january 1, i am starting a serious spending diet. and i’m basing it on this chica’s spending diet, with a few necessary modifications.
The Spending Diet:
- make list of my needs: shelter, phone, food, utilities, rent.
- from my needs list, determine what can be costs can be reduced (i’d say eliminate, but they are supposed NEEDS).
- stop spending $$$$$$.
- spend money on needs, because, hey, they’re needs.
- because this is a spending diet (not a fast), i am allowing myself a $100 limit on “non-needs” for the month. stuff like: clothes, make-up, entertainment, dinner out, other random “non-needs” stuff. this does not include wedding-related expenses, as those are pretty much unavoidable at this point (deposits, fees, dress, whatnot). that’s a completely separate budget – YES. I HAVE AN EXTREMELY DETAILED (AND THRIFTY) WEDDING BUDGET THAT I UPDATE ON THE DAILY.
- i’ll keep a running monthly tally of the money i’m spending on “non-needs” and once the $100 is done, so is my spending.
the implications of such a task are not lost on me. and subconsciously, i think my ability/inability to cut my spending is directly related to my ability/inability to lose weight.
this will be particularly challenging, given that it falls right during bath & body works’ semi-annual sale and end-of-the-year clearances (damn wallflowers!), but i will be strong. and i will save.
and i will be a better (and richer) person/partner/bandit for it.